Creation of CPA Northwest Territories and Nunavut the final step in unification

The unification of the Canadian accounting profession has been completed.

On January 8, 2019, the legislative assemblies of both the Northwest Territories and Nunavut proclaimed parallel statutes that created the Chartered Professional Accountants of Northwest Territories and Nunavut.

This twinned legislation merged the existing legacy bodies and was the final step in uniting the accounting profession in every jurisdiction across Canada, from sea to sea to sea.

It was a challenging and unique process led by a team of volunteers aided by single-staffer, Executive Director, Marlene Sutton. There were two legislatures involved and precisely matching legislation was required in all the official languages: English, French, Inuktitut and Inuinnaqtun.

When Nunavut was split from the Northwest Territories in 1999, the legacy bodies continued to serve their members in both jurisdictions. With unification, this now entailed working with both governments.

“It is not common now to have legislation that covers both the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. I believe it is only the second time it has been done,” explained Cathy Cudmore, a former chair of the Certified General Accountants legacy body and a member of the Transitional Steering Committee. “It was definitely the first professional legislation covering two territories and that created some challenges at various stages. We only have one staff person, who has a lot on her plate, so we relied heavily on volunteers to do work that in all other jurisdictions would have been completed by staff.”

Chris Schott, a former chair of the Certified Management Accountants legacy body, noted: “Having to move significant legislative changes through two governments in tandem created challenges for CPA staff, volunteers, translators and the government lawyers actually drafting the legislation. Happily, that’s all behind us now. It feels good to officially be a CPA.”

At the initial meeting of the new board, Matthew Bannister, a former council member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut, who also served on the Transitional Steering Committee, was elected the first chair of the unified organization.

“I am pleased with the formation and composition of CPA Northwest Territories and Nunavut and its governance structure,” said Bannister. “My belief is that it meets the objectives of the original merger agreement and we are now positioned to work alongside our colleagues across the country and in Bermuda to continue to move the profession forward and face the challenges together as a fully unified profession.”

Now that it is unified under the CPA banner, the newly minted organization is focused on finalizing its processes and procedures to ensure it meets its legislative and strategic objectives.